Letters To The Editor


Police Approach To

H2O Event Unfair


I would like to express my concern about an event that occurs in Ocean City each year for about the last decade. This event is known simply as H2Oi. It is a modified car show. People begin to converge upon Ocean City on about Sept. 28, cumulating with the event on Oct. 4. The event draws a crowd of about 15,000 people. It is a well-known event that has an international and broad domestic draw. The same types of heavily modified cars have been involved in this event since its inception. Ocean City hosts other shows featuring muscle cars, motorcycles, trucks, antique cars, and others. Many of these events feature cars with some or significant modification.

The temperament of the Ocean City Police Department has changed in the past several years with regard to this particular show. The operators of the vehicles are often ticketed and in other ways harassed upon entry into Ocean City. The cars are sometimes impounded. Yet the event has grown into one of the most significant money making events at the end of the summer season. The economic impact is significant and mostly positive.

The businesses of Ocean City and the economic impact welcome this event. Participants feel as if there is a not so subtle form of entrapment. The city clearly welcomes the event and certainly understands the nature of the modifications of an H2Oi vehicle. Yet upon arrival, the participants are subject to this onerous scrutiny.

It is unclear as to whether this event is officially sanctioned and permitted by the Ocean City municipal government. Yet, the event has occurred regularly and will commence again soon. The mayor’s office last year informed me that the event is unsanctioned; yet a letter to the editor published in “The Dispatch”, a local newspaper, complains that the City Council again approved the event.

It is obvious that Ocean City knows of, expects, and economically profits from this event. Authorities clearly understand what modifications will be made to the cars that are “welcomed” that week. It seems most unfair and unjust that Ocean City is eager to accept the economic boom the H2O event provides, yet the police target the participants as they arrive. On the cumulating Sunday, which is the “big” day (October 4 this year), the city is full of participants and spectators. On that day, the police seem to ignore any infractions that they were so intent upon enforcing when the cars arrived.

I wonder if the police activity as participants arrive is used to collect funds to pay the extra law enforcement needed for the event. If this is true, it is blatantly unfair. I understand that an event of this size brings with it law enforcement problems and the police need to provide for personal and property safety. It seems that Ocean City needs to decide if the economic impact is worth the problems that this or other events produce. I am most concerned that this situation in regard to the H2O event is unfair and unjust. I am particularly concerned as my son is one of those participants and last year acquaintances of his were ticketed as soon as they entered Ocean City.

Christine Sapula

Colchester, Conn.


Berlin’s Unsung

Hero Would Be Proud


Another award for the tiny town of Berlin. A nationally known magazine named Berlin “One of the 50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America.” It is a shame that the architect and quiet man who made this possible passed away only a few weeks ago. This man was an unsung hero of Berlin.

When a group of about 10 local families wanted this dying town to be a place of pride, these optimistic people bought the Atlantic Hotel. This was nearly three decades ago. When they walked into the hotel, they could look up and see the sky. Water was dripping and beams were sagging.

They chose a local man named Larry Widgeon to do the almost impossible. At this time most of the store fronts were boarded up – no business. The town was in a shambles and almost an eyesore.

Among the families were the Barretts, Eshams, Jenkins, Hollands, Croppers and a few others I can’t remember. I do apologize for the omissions.

The hotel was built in 1895 and the restoration by Larry and his son, Shawn, began in 1986 and was finished in 1992. It was praised by everyone and won a state restoration award. Berlin was on the rise.

Next came the Renaissance Plaza that Larry and his son completed. Again, this project won a state preservation award. Larry also did many more projects in Berlin, keeping that historical eye in mind. Then the Barrett and Bill Freeman families bought the old Dollar General store and the Acme market. Larry stayed true to the historical style.

As all of these properties improved, the boarded up buildings became thriving businesses and Berlin became a must see on the Eastern Shore, especially with its friendly and very safe atmosphere.

Although I live in Ocean Pines, my wife and I visit Berlin often and not only when they are having great special events. We enjoy the unique shops where the employees are always very pleasant and the restaurants which have their own appeal.

Simple Berlin has become a must see. But it not just this few block area that has grown. We now have a beautiful hospital and doctors’ offices that are close and convenient. Any type of store you want is only a few minutes away. Many new high-paying jobs are available which adds to the much needed revenue. All this looks very positive for the area.

I have met Mayor Gee Williams casually a few times. Just like all the pictures you see in the papers, the mayor always has a smile on his face.

The thing I admire most about the mayor is that when people congratulate him about Berlin, the first thing he says is that it didn’t happen overnight. He gives credit to those first families who were optimistic about Berlin three decades ago and those who are proud of their community continuing to make progress.

According to Mayor Gee Williams, the man with the ever-present smile, the town has received 17 awards since 2012 and he always credits the beginning three decades ago.

I am sure Larry Widgeon, who we lost only two weeks ago, is very proud of this latest award from Good Housekeeping magazine and is looking down with a few of the original 10.

Jay Stulz

Ocean Pines


Thanks For Making

Home Tour A Success


On behalf of the Art League of Ocean City, thank you to everyone who made this year’s Sand Castle Home tour a huge success. Funds from this yearly event provided the initial seed money to construct the Ocean City Center for the Arts on 94th Street and continue to provide sustaining funds to support our non-profit mission of promoting the visual arts in the Ocean City area. The tour showcases the many beautiful residential communities in our area, as well as the builders, decorators, contractors, restaurants and others who provide amenities which support our local economy and the arts.

We would like to thank Maryland’s First Lady Yumi Hogan, for being our honorary chairperson of this the 11th annual tour. Her support of this event and of the arts in general is noteworthy and appreciated.

Our gratitude to our gracious homeowners: the Greaney, Spink, Cohen, Sauter, Spurrier, Kristick, Kreppel, Smeltzer, Peregoy and Marker families as well as Marie Karl of the Gateway Grand who opened their doors to their beautiful homes. Our committee, chaired by Katy Durham, worked many months to coordinate the tour and kick off cocktail party, and we offer them our utmost thanks for making this a premier event in Ocean City. They are Jamie Albright, Marian Bickerstaff, Phaedra Brown, Emmy Challenger, Stephanie Cohen, Nancy Fortney, Rebecca Galyon, Mallory Hanback, Vicki Harmon, Nic Hills, Merilee Horvat, Linda Kessinger, Frankie Knight, Lisa Kristick, John Lowery, Jan Perdue, Lisi Ruczynski, Erin Swanson, Eileen Stamnas, Cheryl Taustin, Marcy Thiele, Judy Tremellen, Gayle Widdowson, Nadine Wieder, Jacquie Warden, Kim Wagner, Pam White and Adele Zaniewski.

To the florists who provided spectacular arrangements for the party and homes: City Florist, Flowers by Alison, Encore Events by Angie Gillis, Little Miss Lovely Floral Designs, Rainbow Florists, Kitty’s Flowers, Ocean Greenery, Ocean City Florist, Beached Butterfly, Flourish Loral Artistry & Design, Ocean Pines Garden Club and Worcester County Garden Club, we are grateful. Thank you to all of the artists who painted the fabulous home portraits: Brigette Bowden, Gerilyn Gaskill, Gail Zinar, Jan Bain, Fay Kempton, Barbara Doyle Schmid, Stasia Heubeck, Kathy Bohs, Becky Simonds, Cheryl Wisbrock and Olivia Smith. Thank you also to Atlantic General Hospital for providing booties for the tour goers to wear in the homes, and Sunsations for the tour bags.

Our appreciation to our valued media partners: Maryland Coast Dispatch, Ocean City Today, Coastal Style Magazine, Metropolitan Magazine, and Delmarva Public Radio, and to the 55 local businesses who advertised in the tour book. We appreciate the support of the restaurants that provided gift certificates for our raffle: Fager’s Island, Sello’s, Sunset Grille, Liquid Assets, Denovo’s, Papa Grande, Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli, The Hobbit, and Barn 34.

It truly takes a village to run this event, and we are so grateful to the almost 300 volunteers who worked as docents during the tour, many of them who return to help each year and some of them representatives from other non-profits in the area. Finally, to the almost 1,000 people who took the tour, thank you for coming, we hope you enjoyed the beautiful residences of our area and look forward to seeing you at the Ocean City Center for the Arts on 94th Street, and next September for the 12th Annual Sand Castle Home tour.

Rina Thaler

Ocean City

(The writer is the executive director of the Art League of Ocean City.)


Wake Up Call Needed


I’m sure your readers realize that over reach and over spending can only result in a decline of a nation. Many nations before ours have experienced the growth and subsequent decline brought about due to these activities. The British Empire is a perfect past example of such a situation. Their investment of blood and treasure in various conflicts and nation building efforts led to their decline.

Now we’re witnessing the same decline of our country due to politicians and present and past presidents who casually threw away lives and resources in efforts, such as Vietnam and Iraq, by overextending are nation militarily, politically, morally and economically. They have taken our nation to a point of possibly no return. Can it be saved? Only if we the people are willing to make the necessary changes.

Our government has become too intrusive in our lives through higher taxes, punitive regulations and unrealistic and very expensive social programs that many now seem to accept as “rights.” Where do we begin to start turning our nation around? I believe to start we the people and our representatives need to look inward at the many government departments and evaluate their size and spending in an effort to reduce or close those found to be a cause for concern.

The Department of Health and Human Services with its many offices and social service programs and the Environmental Protection Agency that has grown from its initial purpose to a restrictive and punitive regulatory agency are two prime examples of where our representatives should start in order to reduce the scope and cost of government.
The next area we have to look at is the area of representation as to who can serve, how long they can serve and what benefits they should receive for their service. I think all of us want those who are willing to serve to do so without expectation of an unrealistic retirement package. I know this will be a difficult task but a very necessary one. We need people who will work for the good of the country, not the love of the dollar. Where might we find people who feel this way about our country? Those who have served in the military might be a good place to start. It’s time to “Wake Up America” before it’s too late.
Paul St. Andre

Ocean City


Defund Planned Parenthood


Which is more socially acceptable? Participating in a protest? Most folks say “Never!” Or ignoring inhumane practices? Probably no one wants to admit to this. Yet, if everyone is ashamed of something, then how can it be socially acceptable? Quite a dichotomous quandary, eh?

On Aug. 22, 2015, while millions of people, nationwide, were enjoying the sunshine, an estimated 78,000 others were peacefully and prayerfully protesting two things, namely: Planned Parenthood’s killing babies to sell their body parts and the federal government’s paying them to do it, — with our tax dollars. At the Easton, Md. Planned Parenthood office, over 128 of us (from Ocean City to Centreville) also peacefully and prayerfully protested. The significance of this officially-documented, widely-investigated and solidly-verified issue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGXFUEv31UE is tantamount to America’s character as a nation and (to) all of its citizens’ first inalienable right (to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness).


I pray that everyone reading this (and even many more) will join us at the next nationwide (peaceful and prayerful) protest on Saturday, October 10th, either in Easton or whatever other location you are near to on that day. For more information, please contact: http://protestpp.com/locations/, Easton@protestpp.com or (me at) noel55@comcast.net / 410-430-0535.


Quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Until then, please (also) contact your U.S. legislators in Maryland, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Congressman Andy Harris, and tell them to defund Planned Parenthood, redirecting any ‘women’s health’ appropriations to fully legitimate women’s health centers. Thank you.

Ellie Diegelmann

Ocean City


Judd Deserves Apology


I think our town owes Wynonna Judd an apology. She appeared at “Sunfest” on Friday, Sept. 25 and joked about where they were designated to park her motorhome. It may have been a joke to her (but I think not), however, I believe it was another “black mark” on Ocean City and an embarrassment to all who attended her show.

Her coach was parked, as she stated, between the —-houses and the ocean, right up against the portable sinks for hand washing. Also adding, that not everyone washed after visiting the facilities.

I cannot imagine why our top notched entertainers must subject themselves to this humiliation having to park where the trash trucks, delivery trucks and port-a-pots exist. Surely, more suitable arrangements can be made to accommodate these celebrities and I’m certain that if the word is passed on to other potential headliners, they will choose not to appear here in the future.

Shirley Marx

Ocean City



Voices From The Readers

Bike Week Reflections Editor: If history is any indicator, I am sure that The Dispatch will be receiving a great deal of feedback regarding the events of Bike Week. There will be those that will demand it be ended because of noise and congestion. Then there will be those that rave about the dramatic economic impact that the bikers bring … Continue reading

Voices From The Readers

Disappointed By City’s Decision On Events Editor: I was very disappointed in the Ocean City council’s recent decisions regarding the Cruisin weekend. How soon we forget how things are for that weekend. I invited the council to see the damage done to the entrance of our parking lot where cruiser trailers back in to turn around. Or check out the tire rubber … Continue reading

Voices From The Readers

Balance Needed On Street Performer Coverage Editor: I’ve read most of your coverage on this issue and I’m struck by the feeling that it’s very one-sided. Why are you only covering the street performers’ concerns? I, for one, am very pleased with the council’s attempts to curb the chaos that ensued after the federal ruling against the city. Reading the comments … Continue reading

City Again Violating First Amendment

Editor: As a Boardwalk performer, I understand the need for safeguards to enhance the experience of tourists visiting Ocean City. But new regulations on Boardwalk performance are once again doomed to failure, and please allow me to explain why. The First Amendment — notice, it’s first because it’s the most important — protects freedom of speech, and arguably by extension, … Continue reading

Voices From The Readers

The Cause Of Renters? Editor: Usually when neighborhoods start to change for the worse, it is not often easy to identify the cause. Yet failure to identify the cause insures that the prescription will eventually fail. Discovering the proper cause of the decline in the neighborhood of Mallard Island is required to avoid applying the wrong cure. The Mallard neighborhood … Continue reading